Have you ever skipped reading a particular blog post simply because it appeared to be too much information all clumped together? Making a post more readable means presenting it in a way that is easier for people to digest, or visually scan and process the information.
Obviously, one of the primary goals of most bloggers is to get more people to read their articles. Unfortunately, many of one’s best articles may by skipped over just because they weren’t packaged the right away. In other words, even if someone writes a great article, people may not read it just because of the way it was presented.
More often than not, the reason someone chooses NOT to read a given article is because of how it is viewed at first glance. The fact is, someone could write an article about growing grass and people would read it if it were packaged the right way.
I am going to show you five proven ways to present your articles so as to make them more readable.
- Break up your posts into smaller chunks.
- Separate your posts into 3-4 main sections with bolded sub-headings.
- Use numbered and bulleted lists.
- Add quotes from other sources.
- Use visually interesting pictures.
At first glance, which of the following articles would you rather read, the one on the left or the one on the right?
They are the same article, but obviously, the one on the left is just a bunch of text while the one on the right is presented in a better way, using the 5 techniques described above and explained in detail below.
Here is how to make your posts more readable:
1. Break up your posts into smaller chunks. No one wants to read big, unorganized chunk of information. People would rather digest information in smaller sections.
I try to keep every paragraph I write to a maximum of 4-5 sentences and every blog post under 500 words with an average word count of 300-400. Why do you think newspapers use this standard? Most frequent Internet surfers scan information instead of reading every word, so by keeping each paragraph to a maximum of 4-5 sentences, you are making it visually and psychologically easier for people to process what you have written.
2. Separate your posts into 3-4 main sections with bold sub-headings. Just like breaking your paragraphs up into smaller chunks, by titling and bolding the sub-headings of articles, you are making it easier for your readers to understand the main themes of your article. Lots of A-List bloggers do this because it really does make articles that much easier to read.
3. Use numbered and bulleted lists. This is self-explanatory, but just by using lists, it breaks up the rest of the article.
Several ways to use lists in an article:
- Provide a list of sources
- Include several tips
- Add a list of benefits
4. Add quotes from other sources. Using indented-quotes are another way to break up the rest of the wordage on your post. A good quote only reinforces the main points of your article, as well.
I read an interesting quote on a Problogger article quoted from Kenny Rogers, of all people. It is from the post The Kenny Rogers Guide to Getting People to Read Your Whole Posts:
â€œThe first word that comes out of your mouth helps people to decide whether to listen to the next word, which in turn helps them work out whether to listen to the next word, which helps them work out whether to listen to the next oneâ€¦ and so on and so forthâ€¦â€ (paraphrased)
5. Add visually interesting pictures. Pictures are a great way to not only break up your articles, but also make them more visually interesting as well. I try to design a little banner for each and every article I write. People have told me that it helps visually break up the blog better. Some of us process information more visually than by written word.
A great place to find photos is the royalty-free and free stock photo site, StockXchange. That is where I source all of my banner photos from.
By presenting your articles in a structured and visually interesting way, you are ensuring that more people will read your articles and hopefully subscribe to your RSS feed or bookmark your site. By far, the most important points to remember are to break up your article into several titled sections and keep each paragraph to a maximum of 4-5 sentences.
Although these are all very simple tips, they may make a world of difference in subtly inviting people to read your whole posts.
35 thoughts on “5 Ways to Make Your Posts More Readable”
I really appreciate the effort you make to design the banners for each post, nate!! They look super awesome…wanna tell me how to do it??
Right. Making it digestable is very important.
Those are all great tips.
I like to put an illustration or photo in every post. It not only gives a visual idea of what the post is about, it helps bring in traffic through Google image search
It’s always the simple tips that are the most powerful.
I’ve adopted a few of these same tips when I send out an email to co-workers or clients. There’s nothing worse than going back to pick information out of an old email and to have to sort through a massive paragraph of text.
Thanks for spreading the word on good design.
Plus I see you walso fixed your IE release 6 viewing errors.
That helped too Nate – thanks.
There’s my personal favorite: actually know how to write.
But I think it’s often overlooked.
nice summary nate … i agreed to all of them (of which i’ve deployed) – item (4) has been in my blog all this while but readers tend to give it a miss as it was assumed part of the content, so i’ve used a bigger “quote” to separate it …
i’ve to admit item (5) is the killer of all and i’ve received an explosive traffics (though not sustainable) when A-listers talk & link to it … sometime a picture can summarize all your content to give readers the extra “kick” … though i’ve to admit it’s not easy to come out with an image which relates to what you’re trying to say – but it’s powerful tactic …
I’ve been bolding, italising and adding pictures for a while. I also make my paragraphs of a swell size. But I’d been doing that for me as it makes it look to me. But hey, I didn’t think of it in such a positive way. ^_^
The simplest tips are often the best.
It’s great to see your RSS subscriber count steadily increasing, Nate. Testament to your useful articles.
These are great tips Nate. Thanks for sharing your great experience. Although my blog is half a dead, I will try to write good posts taking in mind these great tips.
Great tips, thank you 🙂
Also, in your CSS file, you can specify a larger than normal line-height, like you’ve done here. It separates the lines further, leaving more white space for easier reading.
I think it’s one of the very first things you should do when setting up your blog.
Thanks for sharing this great tips on how a blog posts more readable.
wowow…that was good…thx for the tips [:)]
guess wht i liked best apart from the points u discussed….
“ur creativity in showcasing this same post in the abover two images”…amazing
Great tips, thank you.
Good tips! I usually add really shocking content/stuff to my blog 🙂
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